“I think it’s a stupid thing. I think it’s stupid for anyone, whether they’re celebrated or not, I don’t believe their 911 calls should be broadcast around the world.”
—-Actor George Clooney, speaking during Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. He was referring to the release and subsequent airing of a 911 call from a woman summoning rescue workers for actress Demi Moore, who, the caller said, was convulsing and had lapsed into semi-conscious.
Good call, George.
911 calls are considered public, but that doesn’t mean that the public needs or has to hear them, or that sleaze-factories like TMZ should put them online when their only purpose is titillation and to embarrass celebrities. There may be special circumstances that justify making a recording of a 911 call, rather than a transcript, available to the public, but those should be exceptions. In cases like Moore’s, playing them is unfair and unkind, a clear Golden Rule violation, not that TMZ, or most journalists for that matter, would know about that.
If the media can’t control itself when it comes into possession of a 911 call that will embarrass someone who already has enough problems to deal with, then we need laws to keep 911 calls out of irresponsible hands…in other words, the news media’s hands.